The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) was named in January 2017 for alumnus, trustee, entrepreneur, investor, business leader, and philanthropist Maroun Semaan. Engineering education at AUB, however, dates back more than a hundred years to 1913 when the Faculty of Arts and Sciences introduced a program leading to a BS degree in engineering. AUB awarded the first engineering degree (BS in civil engineering) in 1944.
The School of Engineering was established in 1951 and led by C. Ken Weidner. It offered four-year undergraduate programs in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and architectural engineering. AUB has continued to introduce new academic programs and services to meet the changing needs of engineering and architecture students throughout its history: master’s degrees in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering (1962); a graduate program in sanitary engineering (1962), renamed environmental engineering (1973); a bachelor of engineering with a major in computer and communications engineering (1986); an interdepartmental graduate program in engineering management (1990); undergraduate degree program in graphic design (1992); master’s programs in urban planning and urban design (1998); PhD programs in all engineering departments (2007); and BS degrees in chemical engineering and construction engineering (2009). In 2002, MSFEA established a Career Development Center (CDC) that offers comprehensive employment services to MSFEA students and alumni, and to employers.
MSFEA is now AUB’s second largest faculty with over 2,300 undergraduates, 350 master’s students, almost 100 doctoral students; and over 175 instructional faculty. In 2017, Dean Alan Shihadeh and his colleagues began to introduce changes to make MSFEA a catalyst for transformative change that embraces innovation, pedagogy, and knowledge production to promote human well-being. This new direction is reflected in redesigned academic courses, research agendas, and shifting priorities. It is reflected also in the FEA Graduate’s Oath, which recognizes “the obligation to use my special knowledge and expertness to serve humanity.”
MSFEA has benefited enormously from the support of its alumni and friends that has enabled it to expand its facilities and invest in critical resources. The Bechtel Engineering Building was inaugurated in 1954. More recent donations have funded the construction and/or renovation of the Ghosn Building (2001), the CCC Scientific Research Building (2006), the Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) Architecture Building (2007), the Ray R. Irani Oxy Engineering Complex (2014), and the Munib & Angela Masri Building (expected 2018).
Donations have also benefited academic departments, programs, and research and provided important financial support for scholarships and PhD fellowships including: the Baha and Walid Bassatne Department of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Energy, the Munib & Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources, the Georges N. Frem Manufacturing Technologies Hub, the Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi Chair in Engineering, the Al Mu’allim Mohamed Awad Binladin Chair in Architecture in the Islamic World, the Dar Al-Wafaa Advanced Engineering Research Hub, the Riad Kamal Structural Engineering Laboratory-MSFEA, the Petrofac Endowed Scholarship, the Maroun Semaan Foundation Endowed PhD Fellowship, and the Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) Endowed Professorship in MSFEA.